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on 26 February 2015
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on 29 March 2001
I dived straight into Perl with this book (rather than picking up Learning Perl - I'm a skint student!) and actually found it alright. The book itself is excellent and well written - it almost makes bedtime reading. If you are new to programming, find a learning book first. However, if you've got any experience with other languages, you should find this has enough to get you started. After that, the book is an amazing reference. It not only has all the gory details you could want but is packed with interesting snippets of code that fits with the Perl motto, "There's more than one way to do it". The authors frequently show you how TMTOWTDI and you come away from reading this book full of fresh ideas. I'm now totally hooked to Perl - it's one of those things where you keep thinking, "If only I'd learnt Perl earlier, it would have made that task far simpler"! I'm off to buy the cookbook...
22 people found this helpful
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on 3 August 2001
... and the 'Camel Book' is the perfect companion.
I have used Perl for over 7 years and I am ordering my 3rd copy. I tend to have this book lying open under my keyboard and every now and then it also soaks up my coffee.
I learned Perl by looking at examples and reading using this book. If you read the book (and understand most) you are off to a good start.
I have seen several persons having difficulties accepting the way Perl works - therefore I would say that Perl has a high learning curve. I say this with a personal conflict because the simple jobs are so simple in Perl and the complex jobs can have so elegant solutions. But take care - in Perl the simple problems also have very complex solutions.
If you have done some C/C++ programming and some shell programming Perl should be no problem - but read the book anyway - there are some important issues that you need to learn. If you don't you will never fall in love.
The book has a practical approach to programming (I guess that's the essence of Larry) and therefore you will find an overview section, details section, and reference guide. The book also has some very honest sections like optimizing section and common 'goofs' section.
6 people found this helpful
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on 14 July 2007
Perl seems capable of evoking both rapturous adoration and abject disgust from those who are exposed to it. If your feelings are closer to the former than the latter, well, you probably own this book already, and you love it.

After all, The Camel consists of the God of Perl and two Perl demigods writing the definitive reference about Perl from top to bottom. What's not to love? In particular, if you've ever heard Larry Wall give a talk, you'll be able to spot his contributions: droll, parenthetical and punning.

For those of us who just like Perl (or even just have to work with it), it's not quite as essential as you might have been led to believe. In part this might be because the third edition is getting on a bit, and plenty of other good Perl books have emerged in the intervening time. And in part, it's because definitive tomes such as this one by definition contain large chunks that you don't need, where you'll spend most of your time just nodding and thinking 'yep, I already know that'.

But of course, there's always a few bits you didn't know, and that's where The Camel comes in handy. The first part of the book, which goes over the core of the language, is a must read in this respect. To be honest, I didn't find the explanations to be quite as cogent as what can be found elsewhere (e.g. Perl Best Practices or Advanced Perl Programming), but it's all in one place here.

In addition, beyond the core language, lots of other material is present, including: threading, details on Perl's internals, and a long list of Perl idioms and dos and don'ts. There's also the reference section, which covers the built in functions, and briefly outlines what's in the standard packages that come with Perl, which is also helpful, although in most cases I expect an internet search (or the perl man pages) is just as fast, and in the case of the standard library, provides more information.

On the one hand, I think you can get by without owning this. On the other you will not regret buying this book -- Perl has enough quirks that it's nice to have The Camel close to hand. Nice, but not essential.
2 people found this helpful
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on 14 March 2009
This is the book I learned Perl from - or at least tried to. All the information you need is in here, but it is not always easy to find, and the authors often seem more interested in explaining implementation details than broad concepts which might actually help you understand the language.

In general, the prose is awfully verbose: this book could be halved in length and become a lot more readable in the process. The style is discursive and digressive, and cluttered with lame attempts at humour.

This book is very much like Perl itself: useful, but untidy, annoying and difficult to follow. I learned a lot more from Tom Christiansen's superb Perl Cookbook, and the nice little Perl Pocket Reference.
5 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 30 August 2002
Once again, O'Reilly have produced an excellent reference work.
This book is probably not a great book to buy if you don't know anything about Perl and have no programming experience. But, if you have previous programming experience or are already familiar with Perl, you'll find this book an invaluable reference source to keep close to hand.
Just about anything you'll need to look up while writing even the most complex of Perl scripts can be found quickly in this book.
I'm a Web Developer for a large UK ISP and this book is continually in use. It's the only Perl book in the office, and the only one needed! I'd highly recommend this book.
11 people found this helpful
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on 1 November 2000
If you can't get out of using Perl (in an ideal world, you'd always find an excuse to use another language) this book is remarkably complete, well-written and useful. It's just a pity that it's an infinitely better book than the language it describes.
It's in a strange position - a superb book describing an absolute mess of a language - but there is no better guide through the Perl minefield.
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on 7 November 2000
If you want to learn perl, go buy O'Reilly's other book, "Learning Perl". I can recommend it.
If you program in perl regularly, I am sure you already have this book (else how can you have survived?), so I don't need to write this review for you.
For those who have learned perl, but feel the need for a reference on it, this is that reference.
It is well written, and I read all 600-plus pages of it from cover to cover (though not at one sitting!). This was the first time I'd found this in a computing book, and I have to say the experience converted me both to Perl and to O'Reilly.
If you are REALLY serious about perl programming, there are two other good books that fill complimentary niches: "Perl Cookbook" (solutions to common tasks in Perl), and "Advanced Perl Programming". But before you buy them, you need this book in order to be able to understand them.
The book is also an excellent insight into the eclectic mind of the author.
If I were to have a gripe about this book, it's that it has really handy one-liners scattered all over the place, but they are not collated into an accessible list anywhere, so until you get to know the book like the back of your hand, you have to flip through it, saying "I *know* I saw a really elegant way of doing that in a footnote somewhere here...".
also, a quickref card, like that in "HTML: the definitive guide" would be really handy. But then, that's what the perl 5 pocket reference is for.
16 people found this helpful
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on 25 September 2008
This book makes good bed time reading, but it is no good for learning in a hurry. The book contains humorous comments and anecdotes, but these are just annoying to someone trying to learn in a hurry. The book is structured for somebody who wants to write a compiler for perl rather than a user of perl. Chapters often contains vague references to other chapters of the book that are difficult to follow, and end up in a dog eared book as you continuously search for references.

The idiomatic english is probably not suitable to non english speakers with technical english.
6 people found this helpful
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on 27 February 2008
This is the first book I read on Perl and I must say it was absolutely excellent. It gives a thorough understanding of the language and is a vital reference for anyone who is serious about Perl.

It doesn't receive the full 5 for me though as inexperienced programmers may struggle with the content. If you don't have much programming experience I would suggest Learning Perl as a starter then move on to this book.
One person found this helpful
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